Shelley Morrison dead at 83 – Will & Grace star who played Karen’s maid Rosario passes away from heart failure

WILL & Grace actress Shelley Morrison who played Karen’s long-suffering maid has died from heart failure aged 83.

The TV star died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in LA on Sunday after a brief illness, her publicist confirmed.

Shelley Morrison (left) who played Karen’s long-suffering maid in Will & Grace has died
Getty – Contributor

Shelley Morrison (left) who played Karen’s long-suffering maid in Will & Grace has died[/caption]

Morrison played Rosario Salazar, a maid from El Salvador, in the original run of Will & Grace from 1999 to 2006.

The cast for the much-loved sitcom won a Screen Actors Guild award for best ensemble in a comedy series.

Morrison’s character was originally written for a single episode.

But she proved so popular in her interactions with co-star Megan Mullally – who played Karen Walker – that she would appear in 68 episodes.

“Rosario is one of my all-time favorite characters,” Morrison said recently, according to a statement and biography announcing her death.

“She reminds me a lot of my own mother, who loved animals and children, but she would not suffer fools.

“It is very significant to me that we were able to show an older, Hispanic woman who is bright and smart and can hold her own.”

Before Will and Grace, Morrison was best known for playing Sister Sixto on The Flying Nun alongside Sally Field from 1967 to 1970.

She guest-starred on dozens of television series starting in the early 1960s, including The Fugitive, L.A. Law and Murder, She Wrote.

Most recently, she voiced a character, Mrs Portillo, on the Disney animated series Handy Manny.

Born Rachel Mitrani to Jewish parents from Spain in the Bronx, New York, in 1936, Morrison spoke primarily Spanish as a child.

She was cast primarily as Latina characters, but she played a range of ethnicities in theater, television and film.

Her movie roles put her in casts with Hollywood’s biggest stars of several eras.

She appeared with Dean Martin in 1968s How to Save a Marriage and Ruin Your Life, with Barbara Streisand in Funny Girl the same year, with Gregory Peck in 1969s Mackennas Gold.

Morrison is survived by her husband of more than 40 years, Walter Dominguez.


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  1. In the morning, he rarely went to get the newspapers. Arthur, one of the domestic workers, was in charge of it. But, this Tuesday, July 15, Gianni Versace is in good shape. Letting his companion Antonio D’Amico wake up, he puts on a t-shirt, shorts, and stuffs bundles of bills in his pocket. Heading to the News Cafe, three blocks away, on the same avenue, Ocean Drive, in Miami Beach. He lingers a few minutes, buys “Vogue”, “People”, “Newsweek”, “Entertainment Weekly” and “The New Yorker”. With his magazines under his arm, he goes back home to the villa Casa Casuarina. He can’t be wrong. The emblem of his brand, a jellyfish head, is everywhere: on the gates, the gate, the flowerpots… He arrives around 8:45, climbs the stairs, gets ready to turn the key. He hears a thumping noise behind his shoulder, turns around. For a split second, Versace faces his killer, Andrew Cunanan. The man is holding a 40-calibre pistol, the tip of which touches the couturier’s left cheek. He shoots. Versace, disfigured, collapses. A second bullet hit him in the neck. Antonio, alerted by the detonations, rushed to the scene. He sees Cunananan escape around the corner with a cap on his head. Versace barely breathes, bathed in a pool of blood. The air is heavy. An employee stays with Gianni with Antonio while Charles Podesta, the cook, calls 911.

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